Guard Against ATM Fraud- Protect yourself from skimming at payment terminals & ATMs

Written by Chronicle Staff. Posted in Uncategorized

Published on October 05, 2016 with No Comments

What is Skimming?

Skimming is an illegal activity that involves the installation of a device, usually undetectable by card users, that secretly records bank account data when the user inserts a debit or credit card into the card reader. Criminals can then encode the data onto a blank card and use it to loot the customer’s bank account.

How to spot card skimmers.

There are different kinds of skimmers. It is often an inconspicuous device that’s smaller than a deck of cards. Sometimes tiny cameras are used to observe people as they put in their PIN. Other times, a very thin, basically duplicate keypad will be placed over the keypad.

Skimmers can be installed on a payment terminal such as a gas pump, ATM or it could even be a hand-held unit used by a corrupt employee at a restaurant, store or other merchant.

Useful tips to avoid card skimmers and guard against fraud:

1.  Keep an eye out. – Be aware of your surroundings and people nearby.

2.  Check for tampering. – When you approach an ATM or a merchant’s card reader, check for some obvious signs of tampering at the top of the machine, near speakers, the side of the screen, the card reader itself, and the keyboard. Note if things look different, such as a dissimilar color or material, graphics that aren’t aligned correctly. If something doesn’t look right stop your transaction and inform the merchant and 1st Source.

3. Be ready. Have your card ready for your transaction when you approach the card reader or ATM.

4. Memorize your PIN. – never write it down or store it with your card.

5. Cover those keys. – when you are typing in your PIN cover your hand.

6. Wiggle Everything. – Even if you can’t see any visual differences, push at everything. Terminals are solidly constructed and generally don’t have any jiggling or loose parts.

7. Watch out for weekends. – Criminals typically install skimmers on Saturdays or Sundays, and then remove them before locations reopen on Monday.

8. Use the chip. – Whenever possible, don’t use your card’s magnetic stripe to perform the transaction. When you use your chip card your personal information is never transmitted.

9. Use your phone and Mobile Wallet. Consider using Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, or Android Pay. These services tokenize your card information, so your personal information is never exposed. If a criminal somehow intercepts the information, he’ll only get a useless virtual credit card number.

10. Pay attention to your cell. Keep your phone handy so 1st Source can reach you. Keep your phone numbers and email address up-to-date with the bank. Responding quickly can mean stopping attacks before they can affect you.

Remember: If something doesn’t feel right regarding an ATM or a merchant’s card reader, don’t use it.

Monitor your account daily and  to your financial institution, customers generally are protected from financial loss from skimming fraud.

Source: First Source Bank, for more information, visit

Facts on skimming devices

• Skimming devices are normally attached to ATMs during quiet periods, e.g. early morning / late evening,

• Length of time skimming devices are attached can vary, but normally no longer than 24 hours,

• Successful skimming requires both a card skimmer (card reader) & camera (PIN capturing device) to be fitted to the ATM in order to steal card data,

• Criminals may loiter nearby to observe customers and remove equipment after machine use,

• Downloaded information can be transmitted wirelessly to other devices.

• Besides ATMs, other self service terminals (e.g. kiosks), retail cash registers with card read head and gas pump stations are the other targets.

Sources: banking.about.com and netsecurity.about.com


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